Hornets dig deep in Devon to beat Crediton ahead of South West One title clash
PUBLISHED: 09:17 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:18 06 March 2020
Hornet had to dig deep to beat Devon outfit Crediton 22-18 in South West One on Saturday.
The hosts had pushed Devonport all the way in their previous match to earn a losing bonus point and made life just as hard for the leaders.
Hornets lost Joe Gadd to a serious shoulder injury, which led to a hospital trip, early on but replacement Adam Francis produced a decisive performance.
Crediton took the lead with a long-range, wind-assisted penalty, but Hornets hit back to force a knock-on and Callum Lane hooked the ball from the attacking scrum for Dec Dorrington to find Danny Bailey, who switched with Francis to go under the posts.
Charlie Carter converted for a 7-3 lead, before Crediton slotted their second penalty.
But Hornets then lost possession while attacking and the ball was kicked through for a Crediton player to win the foot race for a converted try and 13-7 advantage.
The visitors were awarded a penalty just before the break, which Carter kicked to the corner, and Billy Kirk collected lineout ball to set up a driving maul, with prop Alex Hawkins going over.
Carter's conversion put Hornets 14-13 up at half-time, but Crediton sensed an upset and a well-worked maul led to a try which gave them the lead in the second half.
Hornets pinned the hosts in their own half after that, as the wind made it difficult to clear, and a scrum on the 22 set up a backs move which put Carter over in the corner for a 19-18 lead.
More pressure led to a penalty in front of the posts, which was taken to open up a four-point gap with just a couple of minutes left.
But the restart was dropped and allowed Crediton to attack using their maul, inching upfield towards the line.
The Hornets defence held firm this time, though, and when the ball was dropped, the visitors won the resulting scrum and cleared to touch to secure victory on a difficult afternoon.
The win leaves Hornets five points clear at the top of the table ahead of Devonport Services, who visit The Nest on Saturday.
Hornets seconds produced an impressive 45-31 win over fellow strugglers Stothert & Pitt to climb above their rivals and out of the Somerset Premier relegation zone.
They will hope for more success at Tor, who are next to bottom, this weekend.